Chapter 31: Flying
A/N: This is the second part of a three part story, I highly recommend that you read Checkmate: Part1 first. The story is quite long and develps several new characters and many new relations. I've completed the story and will upload the chapters as I can, assuming of course that anybody is reading it
Disclaimer 1: The characters of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Castle do not belong to me. All I do is write about my imaginings for them.
Disclaimer 2: There is femslash and hetero in this story. The pairings are Buffy/Willow/Dawn/Alexis/Faith/Xander and a lot more, including cross pairings and group sex. The story contains a lot of sexual activity but it is, in my mind, integral to the story line. For those of you that don’t like it then don't read this.
To Reviewers: Thanks for the input, I hope you like this part as well.
Michelle and I dragged, well rolled; our suitcases out to the town car in front of my apartment building, the driver put them in the trunk while we piled into the back of the car. I heard him grunt as he lifted Michelle’s bag and smirked, damned thing was heavy but I hadn’t had to strain to lift it. But I bet she was going to get hit by an overweight surcharge when the airline got it.
We had said our good-byes to Michelle’s family the day before; we had been staying at Buffy’s ever since our first night together. Buffy had been one grumpy chick for the next couple of days, but she wouldn’t talk about it. Michelle’s father had evidently threatened to raise a big stink but she had finally gotten him to see reason, or at least accept the situation, after a couple of days. We had actually spent Saturday night at Michelle’s, I got the guest bedroom ‘officially’, I sneaked into her room as soon as everyone was asleep but we behaved other than that, meaning we didn’t make love that night. But that was the only night we didn’t make love at least once, usually more, especially Sunday night. By Sunday evening Michelle had been real antsy; she was almost insatiable that night. I realized why Willow had been so concerned about us being separated. I had woken up early this morning and made long, gentle love to her, both because I didn’t know what our living arrangements were going to be when we got to England and because I wanted to ‘drain’ her before the long flight, I didn’t know how long until we could be alone again. I didn’t, at least I didn’t think I did, want to become a member of the mile high club on this flight, our glowing was still going full force, I didn’t know how we would conceal that.
Buffy and Dad piled in after us, Dad was coming to the airport to see us off. Michelle and I were chatting quietly when I noticed we weren’t going the right way to get to JFK, “Hey Buffy, where are we going?”
“Have another pick-up.”
“We do? Who?”
I racked my mind for a minute and then it struck me, if she expected me to know that limited the field pretty much, I squealed “Harmony?”
Buffy grinned and nodded, at that moment we pulled into an underground parking garage and around to a bank of elevators. Harmony was standing there, a suitcase beside her. I hopped out and yelled at the driver, “I’ll get it, just pop the trunk.”
I ran to Harmony and pulled her into a tight hug, she was stiff but then relaxed and hugged me back, “So, you’re coming with us!”
“I guess so, not so sure about this whole airport thing, out in the day, you know?”
“I’m sure Buffy’s got it covered, nothing to worry about!”
She nodded and I grabbed her suit case with one hand and her arm with the other and started back to the car, pulling both of them along, I heard her mumble under her breath, “I sure hope so, so don’t want to get dusted.”
I led her to the door and could hear the greetings as she got in, I went around to the back and opened the trunk lid and put her suit case in with the rest and then slammed the trunk closed. I went back and crawled into the back of the car and took my seat next Michelle, Harmony was on the jump seat on the other side of her.
“So, Harmony, what are you going to do in England?” I asked as the car took off, emerging from the underground parking garage and working its way onto the surface streets.
“Buffy offered me a job working at the Slayer school, should be a trip. She promised no dusting – right Buffy?”
“Yep, as long as you behave, no dusting.”
“What are you going to be teaching?”
“Mostly high school general ed, most of the girls still need to complete high school. I can handle anything but advanced math and some of the sciences. Might fill in some on demonology classes.”
“Plus I’m going to have her handling some of the sparing sessions, give the Slayers the taste of a real vampire,” added Buffy.
“What?! First you mentioned that,” squeaked Harmony.
“Be good for them, be good for you to, you could use some exercise,” Buffy said as she gave Harmony’s curvaceous body a long look.
“I don’t know about that Buffy – I’m not much of a fighter, and I’d prefer not to get ‘accidently’ dusted by one of your over-zealous Slayers.”
“It’ll be hand to hand; if you get good enough and comfortable enough where we start to use weapons I’ll get you a Kevlar vest.”
Harmony looked skeptically at her but didn’t say anything else. The car suddenly went dark, I looked outside and saw we were in a tunnel, it didn’t feel right to me. I tried to review where we had gone, then I realized it was the Lincoln Tunnel, why on earth were we going to New Jersey? “Buffy, where the hell are we going?”
“To the airport.”
“What airport, JFKs the other way.”
She just grinned at me and then sat back in her seat, leaned her head back and shut her eyes, I looked at Michelle, “I think Teterboro is out this way,” she said.
“But that’s all private…” I looked at Buffy again but she just kept her eyes shut, but I think her grin got smugger.
I looked at Dad but he just shrugged his shoulders and turned his attention to Harmony, “So what did you do with the rest of your stuff?”
“Oh, mostly what I had was books; I sold most of them back to the used book stores where I got them, packed the rest in a couple of boxes that Buffy’s keeping for me. Rest of the stuff, furniture and such, was just junk I’d collected off the street, actually sold it all plus my ‘place’, squatters rights you know, to a cousin of Clem’s that moved to the city a couple of weeks ago. Buffy introduced us.”
“Buffy’s demon book, the last picture, the Shar-Pei looking demon?”
“Oh, yeah, now I remember him.”
“Well his cousin paid me 300 bucks, he offered 250 and 3 kittens but I told him I had no use for kittens so he settled on $300.”
Michelle looked at her quizzically, “Kittens?”
“Uh, yeah, well they have this thing for kittens. Spike used to play poker with them and they always insisted that kittens were as good as cash. Spike used to have a box of them around all the time because they never had enough money to buy them back.”
“What did they want kittens for?” Michelle asked.
“You really don’t want to know.”
“Oh! Gross!” Michelle squeaked and looked sick.
“Welcome to the world of demons and vampires.”
I suddenly got a little worried and hopped off my seat and scooted over and sat next to Buffy, squeezing in between her and Dad, she lifted her head and opened her eyes to look at me, I whispered to her “We’re doing a lot of talking, think the driver can overhear us?”
“Nope,” she pointed to the glass partition separating us from the driver, “wouldn’t matter if he did, though.”
I looked more closely at the driver; I hadn’t really noticed him when we got loaded up. He was wearing a uniform complete with cap, looking at his back all I could make out were folds of skin at the nape of his neck. I looked back at Buffy.
I hopped in Dad’s lap so I could see around from the other side of him and get more of a side view of the driver, “Hi, honey.” Dad said, startled.
I gave him a quick peck on the side of his cheek, “Hi, Daddy.” But I was more interested in looking at the driver, now I could see the sagging folds of skin that made up his face and the long, droopy ears. I gave Dad a quick hug and then got off him and worked my way back to my seat.
Michelle looked at me quizzically, “What was that all about?”
“Got nervous about all the talk, checked with Buffy about the driver over hearing us.”
“Not a problem I take it?”
“Nope, driver can’t hear us and besides, he’s a demon!”
Michelle’s eyes opened wide in shock, “You’re kidding!”
“Nope, Clem’s cousin.”
Harmony turned and looked for a minute and then turned back, “Yeah, that’s Tony.”
We were pulling through some gates and I realized we had reached an airport of some sort, I guessed it must be Teterboro, but I had never been there before. We drove down a road behind some large buildings before going through an alley between two of them, I could see airplanes parked in rows in front of us. As we came out from between the buildings the driver made a sweeping U-turn until we were inside the building, hanger I guess you’d call it, the car continued into the building until it circled all the way around a small jet. We stopped just in front of the wing and opposite an open door in the fuselage of the plane, the car facing the open hanger doors.
A young woman in black leather was seated on the folded down steps hanging from the doorway, a tall dark haired man with an eye patch leaned on the steps next to her, I recognized Faith and Xander from the pictures I had seen around Buffy’s apartment.
Buffy opened the door slowly and Harmony pulled her feet back from the bright splash of sunlight coming in through the door, Buffy slide out of the car and shut the door behind her. Faith got up and with Xander walked toward her, Buffy walked up to Xander and put her arms around him, he put his arms around her and she rested her head against his chest, they stood like that for at least a minute. Faith had waited patiently but finally she tapped Buffy on the shoulder, reluctantly Buffy let go of Xander and turned to face Faith. I couldn’t see Buffy’s face but Faith had a wry grin, she held out her arms and Buffy stepped in, almost reluctantly I felt, Faith pulled her into a tight hug and then Buffy responded. When they broke Faith kept an arm around Buffy’s shoulder and Buffy kept her arm around Faith’s waist.
Buffy said something to Xander and he walked toward the front of the hanger, Buffy and Faith kept their arms around each other, at one point Faith’s voice got loud enough I could hear her, “Hey! I’ve already gotten the shovel speech from Willow and Dawn – how about someone giving Xander the shovel speech about me!”
I could see Buffy laugh and nod in agreement; then the sound of machinery drowned out anything else they were saying. The bright sunlight lighting the interior of the hanger disappeared as the doors slowly closed, as soon as the car was in shadow Buffy and Faith walked arm in arm toward us. through the glass I could see Buffy reach out to the door handle and the door opened, Faith suddenly stiffened and I could see Buffy’s arm increase its grip, “What the fuck!”
“Faith! It’s okay, it’s just Harmony.”
“Harmony! What the fuck is she doing here?”
“Uh… she’s coming with us,” Buffy sounded a little embarrassed.
By that time Dad had gotten out of the car, I got out after him with Michelle after me. Xander had rejoined us but Harmony stayed inside in her seat.
Buffy turned to us, “Faith, Xander, this is Rick Castle, Alexis’ Dad.”
Dad held out his hand, Xander took it, “Nice to meet you Mr. Castle.”
Faith took it after Xander let go, “Welcome to our world, having fun yet?”
“Couldn’t say it was fun, interesting, disturbing, sometimes disgusting, but not fun.”
“Yeah, but it’s easier to deal with if you can find some fun in it,” she let go of Dad’s hand.
Buffy took my elbow and pulled me closer, I’d been sort of staying back behind Dad, “This is Alexis, the new Slayer.”
Xander shook my hand, “Hello, Alexis.”
Faith took my hand and put some Slayer pressure into her grip, I responded, we weren’t trying to crush each other’s hand, just showing some strength, Faith’s eyebrows went up, “Alexis,” she said and nodded to me, then turned her attention to Buffy but didn’t release her grip on my hand, “you weren’t kidding Buffy.”
“Nope, no kidding; and this is Michelle, Alexis’ mate.”
Michelle stepped up and shook Xander’s hand, “Hey, Xander, heard a lot about you.”
“Oh, no – Buffy’s been spreading stories again.”
“Actually, no, more from Harmony,” Xander’s expression turned sour, “not bad stories! She thinks quite a lot of you!” Now Xander looked shocked.
Faith took Michelle’s hand, “Too bad you’re taken, you’re hot!”
“Don’t lose all hope; we haven’t worked out all that, sort of young for the permanent commitment thing…” Faith looked startled; then looked at me and I just smiled at her, Xander started to get a gleam in his eye, Michelle looked under her lashes at him, “but I’m pretty sure I’m sticking to automatic.”
Xander looked crestfallen and Buffy and Faith had a good laugh, Faith reached out and pulled him against herself, “Aren’t I enough for you, big boy?”
“But… the three of you…” Xander winced as Faith squeezed harder, “Hey! Slayer strength there! Besides, you’re the one that started it.”
Faith grinned at him and tilted her head up expectantly, after a moment he leaned over and gave her a quick but firm kiss on her full lips.
Buffy called to the car, “Come on out Harmony, no one’s going to stake you.”
Slowly Harmony emerged from the car, she looked warily at Faith and Xander and tried to stay behind Buffy but Buffy reached back and pulled her up, “You remember Harmony.”
Xander looked at her for a moment and then held out his hand, “Hello, Harmony.”
Reluctantly she took it and shook it briefly before letting go; Faith didn’t offer her hand but nodded to her, “Harmony.”
“Faith, Xander, uh… nice to see you.”
Buffy spoke up, “Harmony’s coming with us; she’s going to be teaching classes at the Slayer school and maybe doing some physical training.”
Xander was shocked, “Harmony? Teach classes?”
“She’s got a bachelor’s in History and a Master’s in Education, she’ll do just fine!” I said, upset at how they were treating Harmony.
Xander looked even more shocked but Faith looked curiously at her, “Where’d you go to school?”
“Columbia for History, CUNY for Education.”
“Completed both in what, four years?”
“Four and a half, lots of time, no need for sleep, wasn’t easy but it kept me busy.”
Faith looked quizzically at Buffy, “No evil stuff?”
Buffy shook her head no; Harmony looked exasperated and said, “No! No evil stuff, you think bottle blond over there wouldn’t have staked me if she thought I was doing evil stuff.”
“Hey! Not bottle blond!” Faith looked at her skeptically and raised an interrogating eyebrow, “Uh… Willow made it permanent, so I don’t have to deal with roots…”
“Both ends?” Faith asked innocently.
“Both ends?” Buffy frowned, “Both… None of your damn business!”
Tony, the driver, came up at that point, all the suit cases were out of the trunk, I could see the Shar-Pei like skin of his face and the long ears, but he grinned nicely and had kind eyes, “Uh, what do you want me to do with the luggage.”
Faith turned to the plane and yelled, “Hey, Charlie!”
In a few moments a young man appeared in the doorway, dressed in jeans and a T-shirt, “We’ll be ready in about ten, finishing up the flight plan and then we’ve got to do the preflight.”
“What about the luggage?” She asked.
He looked at the three large and one small suit cases behind us, Buffy didn’t need much; a lot of her stuff was still in England. “Let’s get them loaded.”
He came over and grabbed the small bag and I grabbed mine and Michelle’s, Tony pulled the last bag over to the plane, I was surreptitiously trying to observe Tony but I guess I wasn’t too successful, he grinned at me, “New Slayer?”
“Nice to meet you…” he held out a wrinkly hand.
“Alexis, nice to meet you Tony,” I said as I shook his hand, it was amazingly soft.
Charlie had climbed into the plane with the bag he had and disappeared for a moment, then he was back and stuck out a hand, I handed him Michelle’s bag and he nearly fell out of the plane when he took the weight. He grabbed the door frame and I was able to get a hand back on it and helped hold it up until he recovered, he looked at me sourly, “We need to tattoo “Slayer” across you girls’ foreheads so we know when to watch out for you.”
“Hey, not nice!” But I grinned at him, I helped him get the bag through the door and he disappeared with it. Before I lifted my bag inside the door I popped one of the outside pockets and dug out the old Polaroid I had packed there and slipped it into the back pocket of my jeans, then I lifted the bag and set it on the floor. Charlie was back in a minute and took it away and Tony brought up the last bag and I heaved it in.
I heard a muffled voice from the front of the plane, “Flight plans in, ready for the preflight, Charlie?”
“Just a second Jack,” Charlie called out as he got the last bag and disappeared with it, a few moments later he was back, he said, “Starting it now.”
He climbed down the steps and started walking around the plane, checking things, pulling on various parts; I followed him around, fascinated with what he was doing. He ducked under the wing and checked the landing gear, then moved to the rear of the plane and wiggled the hinged part at the very back and then it started moving on its own, swinging up and then down, then the back part of the little wing that stuck straight up, rudder I think, moved from side to side, I guess the other pilot inside the plane was working the controls. He walked up to the wing and did the same thing, the flappy thing on the back edge moved up and down. Charlie squatted down so he could see under the plane, I looked where he was and saw the one on the other wing do the same thing and then I realized it was going opposite the one on this wing, when it went up the other went down and vice versa. He ducked under the wing and checked the landing gear on this side, and then went up to the front and checked some more stuff there, including the wheel holding up the front of the plane, nose gear? Finally we had walked around the entire plane and he stepped back and just looked at it. I asked him, “What kind of plane is this?”
“Gulfstream G550. Nice plane, you’ll like the ride.”
I grinned at him, but then a worry came to mind, “This little thing can fly all the way to England without stopping?”
“Yeah, no problem, she’s got real long legs. Maybe you’ll come up when we’re in the air and I’ll show you the cockpit?”
“Got to go, help Jack get her wound up so we can try to get her off the ground,” but he grinned as he said it, then he climbed back into the plane, he turned once he was in, “Time to load up folks, we can leave anytime.”
I went over to Dad and gave him a hug, he held me tight and softly stroked the back of my head, “You take care of yourself, take care of Michelle too.”
“I will Dad, we’ll take care of each other,” for once I kept all innuendo out of my voice.
“I love you, Alexis.”
“Love you too, Dad.”
Reluctantly he let me go, Michelle was standing near me and he pulled her into a hug, “Take care of my little girl, Michelle.”
“Don’t worry, Mr. Castle, I will,” Michelle didn’t keep the innuendo out of her voice nor in the grin she gave Dad.
“I mean it, Michelle.”
She turned serious, “I will, we both will.”
Michelle let go of him and climbed into the plane, I followed and turned as I got inside, “See you in a couple of months, Dad.” His eyes glistened, mine did to, as he gave a little wave, I waved at Tony, “Nice meeting you Tony.”
He nodded and waved back, I turned and looked down the interior of the plane, just behind the door there were three seats on either side separated by the central aisle. The first seat on either side was facing backwards, the other four seats faced forward. There was a table between the two seats facing each other and it looked like another table could be folded down in front of each of the back pair of seats. Then there were two couches facing each other, behind the couch on the right side were two seats side by side facing the rear and then across another table two more seats facing forward. Michelle was already in the far seat of the pair facing forward, waving at me to join her. I walked down the aisle and took the seat next to her. Michelle whispered to me as I sat down, “This is so cool!”
I grinned at her, Harmony and Buffy were making their way down the aisle and I heard Buffy reassure Harmony, “Don’t worry, all the windows are treated, you don’t have to worry about the light that comes in.”
“Thanks, Buffy,” Harmony pointed toward the forward facing seat just before the couch on the opposite side of the plane from us, “this Okay?”
“Its fine, I’m going to sit up here with Xander.” Buffy went back up the aisle and sat in the very first seat, the one facing backwards, on our side of the plane. I noticed it was getting brighter out and looked out the window, I could see sun streaming in the hanger and the shadow of the door moving away. A little later Xander and Faith came in, Xander worked some controls and the light from the doorway disappeared, I heard a soft ‘thunk’ and some mechanical noises. Xander called out, “Door’s secure.”
A voice from the front, Charles I thought, called back, “Confirmed, main door secured.”
Xander and Faith started down the aisle and Buffy twisted in her seat and grabbed Xander’s wrist, forcing him to stop, she looked back at Faith and after a moment Faith slightly shrugged her shoulders and nodded. Buffy looked up to Xander and I could hear her ask, “Join me?”
Xander nodded and sat down in the seat facing Buffy. Faith took the seat behind Xander and across the aisle from Harmony, I could see Harmony tense a little and sort of scrunch over in her seat. Faith looked at her for a few moments, not the friendliest look I thought, and then lightened, Faith smiled and reached over to Harmony and patted her arm, “Sounds like you’ve been doing quite a lot for yourself over the last couple of years?”
“Yeah, trying to get my act together.”
“So, how was it going back to school?”
“A little strange, all the other students seem… I guess innocent. I’d try to socialize with them and someone would have some crisis, you know boy friend troubles some drivel like ‘Oh Tommy isn’t paying attention to me, he keeps looking at Martha, does your boyfriend do that to you?’ and I just couldn’t relate, ‘well, no, my boyfriend sacrificed himself jumping into a hell mouth and then came back as a ghost’ just didn’t seem to fit in.”
Faith chuckled a little, “Still got the hots for Spike?”
“Yeah, guess I do. Just haven’t met anyone else.” Harmony glanced up at Xander and then back at Faith who was now giving her the hard look again.
“Keep your eyes, and mitts, off Xander!”
Harmony was startled, “Oh! No – not thinking of Xander in that way, just thinking it’s nice you’ve finally found someone…”
Faith looked, well satisfied is the best description I can think of, “We’ve been spending a lot of time together, we’re running the Cleveland scene together so there is that, but, yeah I like where we’re going… at least where I think we’re going.”
Harmony leaned back in her seat, crossed her arms under her breasts and smiled softly at Faith.
Buffy and Xander had been leaning over the table chatting quietly this whole time, and hadn’t heard the interchange between Faith and Harmony, at least I’m pretty sure Xander hadn’t heard it, Buffy had but whether it registered or not I wasn’t sure.
I started paying some attention to what was going on outside the plane. I could see out the windows over the couch and the town-car we had arrived in was pulling away. Some guys I hadn’t noticed before drove a little tractor toward the front of the plane until I couldn’t see it any more. After a few moments there was a little jerk and we started moving, once we were out of the hanger we stopped, a little bit later the tractor passed us headed back to the hanger. Another guy with those flashlight thingys, like you see the plane directors at the airports use – wands I think they’re called, and big ear phones on his head was standing to the side of the plane, he waved his wands and I heard a whine behind me, must be an engine starting. Soon there was a soft whistling and then it quieted and there was another whine and then another soft whistle, okay second engine started.
Charlie’s voice came over the speaker system, “Everybody buckle up.”
Buffy quickly got up and moved to the seat beside Xander before buckling herself in. I found my seatbelt and got it on while Michelle buckled hers. We sat there for a few more minutes, Michelle and I looked around the plane and out the windows, fascinated by what was going on, pointing out things to each other as we spotted something interesting. After a few minutes we started moving, taxing until we reached the end of the runway and then we swung onto it, we never stopped, just kept accelerating and then suddenly we were off and climbing, much faster and steeper than what I remembered from the few airline flights I had been on; now I understood why Buffy had switched seats, in a backward facing seat you’d almost be hanging from the seat belt.
Charlie’s voice came back on, “Amazingly enough everything worked and we got into the air. With a little bit of luck we should be in England in a little under seven hours, assuming we can find it. I’ll let you know when we reach altitude and you can unbuckle. We make the same recommendation that the airlines do, when you’re seated keep your seat belts fastened. Never know when this thing will fall out of the sky.”
I turned to Michelle and whispered, “What was that flirting you were doing with Faith?”
“Did you mind?”
I thought about it, I wasn’t sure how I felt, it wasn’t as if I was unsure about Michelle and I, but bringing in other people? How would I feel if Michelle wanted to go on a date with someone else, or even make love with them? It unsettled me a little, “Not sure if I’m comfortable, we’re so new…”
“Not anytime soon, but sometime, in the future…”
“No, not really.”
“You have someone else in mind or are you just trying to keep your options open?” I smiled at Michelle to make sure she didn’t think I was upset with her.
“Didn’t you feel the connection the other day, when Willow did that thing with the three of us?”
“Well, I felt something, but I thought it was you, you know you and me when we did the glowy.”
“You didn’t feel Buffy; and even Willow a little bit, coming in with us?”
“Uh, no, concentrating on my girl friend you know.” I thought back about it and realized there had been something a little odd, different, about it, “Well, now that I think about it, maybe something.”
“Hey! You said you liked my Slayer side.”
“I do, especially the stamina, but it doesn’t make you any less dense!” She said it with a smile so I knew she was just kidding, well at least for the most part. “I could feel Buffy, she was starting to connect with us and I think Willow was also, I’ll know when I actually meet her, but I’m pretty sure we could…”
“We could what?”
“Well, we could all link together like we do.”
“We could?” I was startled, and a little afraid, “Are you sure we should. You know, they’ve been through a lot. Do you really want all that in you?”
“Not anytime soon, I think they would just overwhelm us. We have to get a lot stronger and a lot surer of ourselves. But… eventually… maybe; depends some on what happens between them.”
“What do you mean what happens between them?”
“Whether or not they become a couple?”
“Buffy and Willow? But I thought Buffy was all into guys. All she’s ever had were boyfriends as far as I know.”
“Well, that is one thing I do know from the link that we did establish the other day.”
“Buffy’s got herself tied in knots over Willow, but I think she’s planning on doing something on this trip.”
“How do you know all this?”
Michelle gave me a wicked smile; she poked me in the chest with her finger, “You Slayer!” And then she poked herself, “Me Witch!”
I looked up to where Buffy and Xander were leaning across the aisle talking quietly, make love with Buffy – it was an… intriguing idea. Making love with another Slayer had some interesting possibilities. Michelle’s voice broke through my ruminations, “Oh god, what have I done!?”
I turned back to her and gave her my wicked smile.
The plane started to level off, it was still climbing but not nearly as steeply as when we had taken off, Charlie’s voice came of the speakers, “You can unbuckle now if you want to move around, just be careful.”
Immediately Faith was out of her seat, she stuck her head between Buffy and Xander and said something, then she spoke a few words with Harmony and then came back by us, “You girls want anything to drink? I’m getting some wine for up front.”
“A white?” I asked. Michelle looked at me startled; we had been at Buffy’s for the last week but hadn’t really been socializing with her, “Buffy doesn’t mind if we drink a little, says it teaches us how to handle it.”
“I’ve never had anything alcoholic, would it be Okay?”
Faith spoke up, “A little Pinot won’t hurt, but not much, half a glass maybe, altitude can have funny affects.”
“I’ll help,” I said and got up and trailed her back to the galley area. Faith started opening lockers and soon found the wine cooler.
She started looking through the selection and said to me, “Why don’t you try to find the wine glasses?”
I started opening up some of the lower lockers, the first one was a fridge full of soft drinks and fruit juices, I snared a diet coke for me and bottle of cran-apple for Michelle. I finally found the wine glasses in a locker on the other side of the plane; I brought 6 over to Faith. By that time she had selected two bottles of wine and gotten them open, we found a tray to put the wine glasses and soft drinks on. Faith started forward with the wine bottles and I followed her with the tray. When we passed Michelle I gave her my coke and her juice and a couple of glasses, “Hold onto these, back in a minute.”
Buffy had shifted back to the forward most seat facing Xander; Faith walked up beside her and turned around. I put a couple of wine glasses in front of them and Faith said, “Pinot Gris or Syrah?”
Buffy thought for a moment, then held out her glass, “Pinot, thanks Faith.”
“Syrah,” said Xander.
Faith poured them each a glass and then nodded her head to me to head back. I turned around and was about to give Harmony a glass when Faith said, “Why don’t we all go back to your table, you don’t mind if we join you, Alexis?”
“No, of course not,” I said over my shoulder; then I turned back, “come on Harmony.”
Harmony slipped out in front of me and went down the aisle and slipped into the seat facing Michelle. I gave the last two glasses to Harmony and then went and stowed the tray back in the galley, by the time I got back Faith had taken the seat next to Harmony and poured wine for all of us, Pinot for Michelle and I and the Syrah for herself and Harmony.
Michelle took a sip of hers and wrinkled her nose, “You actually like the taste of this?”
I took my glass and tried a sip, then nodded my head enthusiastically, “Oh, yeah – this is a good one.”
Michelle slid her glass towards me, “Well, you can enjoy this to, thanks for the juice.” She took a swallow from her jar of cran-apple.
Harmony offered Michelle her glass, “Try this, white’s can be an acquired taste.”
Michelle tentatively took the glass and tried a small sip, thin took a little larger one, “That’s not bad.”
I took a large swallow from Michelle’s glass and was able to pour the rest into my glass, then held out her empty glass to Faith who filled it with the Syrah. I gave it back to Michelle who sipped from it contentedly.
Faith looked at me for a few moments and then looked at Michelle for a longer time, “So, a Slayer and a Witch?”
Harmony looked startled; then looked more closely at Michelle, “You are! You weren’t the other night, how did that happen?”
Now Faith looked startled, “No way, she’s way too powerful!”
“I know I couldn’t have missed it, and it was just a week ago. How on earth did you get so powerful so quick?”
Michelle was starting to turn a little pink, “Well… Uh…”
I decided to try to help her out, “Uh, Willow thinks it’s not just Michelle, it’s the combination of the two of us.”
Harmony looked puzzled, “Combination of the two of you?”
Faith was concentrating on me like she had earlier on Michelle, “Yeah, I can sense it know, she’s got some witchiness coming off of her.” She turned her attention back to Michelle, “And there’s an undertone of Slayer coming from her.”
Harmony looked hard at both of us for a bit, “Yeah, you’re right.” Then she got a little fearful in her expression, “Oh shit!”
Faith looked at her questioningly, “Oh shit?”
“Witch and Slayer combined! Do you know what that could mean?”
Faith got a feral look in her eye, “Don’t think it will be good for the vampire and evil demon world!”
“It might not be good for any of the world if they can’t keep it controlled!”
“Hey, we’re keeping it controlled!” I said.
“How? The amount of power she’s building up? If it’s not drained in some way I bet she’d be ready to explode in a couple of days!”
Michelle had gone from turning red to being indignant, “We fuck each other’s brains out two or three times a day, drains lots of power!”
Harmony was shocked and then started to flush with embarrassment, Faith just got a gleam in her eye and turned to me, “If you ever need any help.”
I smiled sweetly at her, “Oh, no, I do just fine, Slayer stamina you know?”
Michelle looked at Faith, “So, is it true you got busted for making out with some preacher in front of a bus load of Baptists and you were nude?”
“I wasn’t making out, he was just thanking me!” Faith said indignantly. “Yeah, well mostly, I hadn’t really started out nude; I did take enough time to grab a T-shirt as I was running out. Unfortunately one of the vamps got his hands on it and ripped it off during the fight.” Faith grinned mischievously, “It sure took the fight out of them.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, when they saw this magnificent body,” she thrust out her ample chest and preened a little, “they just went all gaga; I staked two of them while they just stood there and stared.”
Harmony was looking at Faith appreciatively, “Well, at least they died happy.”
Faith looked over at Harmony, “Well thank you, Harmony. I didn’t think you’d notice.”
“I appreciate all types of beauty; widened my horizons a lot since high school.”
I remembered dancing with her; there hadn’t been any awkwardness, at least on her part, when we were dancing together. The conversation started to lag and I remembered the picture, I dug it out of my back pocket, “Faith, do you want this?” I asked as I slid the old Polaroid across the table to her.
She looked down at the picture of her in front of the pinball machine, “Beat me out, huh?”
“Maxed the machine.”
“It was so cool,” said Michelle, “there was this greasy guy who came up and wanted the machine while we were on it and he had to challenge Alexis and she goes and beats the pants off of him!”
“I think Max is going to get an inferiority complex,” Faith snickered, “he tried the same thing with me and I was half drunk. How did you get past that gold pot, every time I got there I lost the ball.”
“You have to hit the flipper just before it gets to the upper flipper so you don’t catch it with the upper flipper nor let it bounce off the upper flipper, then catch it with the lower flipper.”
“Ah, never tried that, kept trying to time the hit with the upper flipper.”
The conversation drifted, a little from Michelle and I, but more stories from Faith, not that much about her, more about all the other Scoobies. Harmony added some from her time with them in high school. Charlie came back an hour or so into the flight and had Michelle and I go forward to visit the cockpit and meet Jack the pilot, actually Jacqueline an attractive brunette with a wicked sense of humor. Michelle and I snuggled on one of the couches for a while, keeping it very PG, and napped a little.
Michelle and I were back in our original seats, although this time I had gotten the window seat, and we could see lights in the dark below us. Faith, Buffy, Xander and Harmony were up in the forward most seats talking quietly when Charlie came back from the cockpit and had a whispered conversation with Buffy, after some back and forth talk and a question or two from Xander she seemed to agree with Charlie and he disappeared back in the cockpit.
Shortly after that Charlie’s voice came over the speaker system, “Alright everyone, we think we’ve found where we’re supposed to set this thing down so would you all get strapped in for the crash… OW!” We could hear the ‘smack’ of flesh on flesh, “Jesus! That smarts. Okay, for a smooth and gentle landing.”
A few minutes later and we were on the ground and taxing back toward some large hangers, “Hey, I thought Buffy said we were going to land at Heathrow?”
“Yeah, that’s what she said earlier,” Michelle answered.
“Well I don’t think that’s where we’re at,” I pointed to the sign on what looked like the control tower building we were passing, ‘RAF Wyton’.
Michelle looked out the window, “RAF Wyton?”
“All I’ve seen are military planes, no airliners or anything that looks like a passenger terminal.” We came to a stop and Michelle and I got up and went forward, Xander was already up getting the door open.
Buffy spoke up when we got up to them, “Slight change of plan, RAFs going to fly us out to the school.”
I was puzzled, this seemed awfully cozy to the ‘establishment’ for Buffy and her organization, “What’s going on?”
“We have to brief someone and figured it would be easiest to have him come along and we’ll run him through the same introduction that we’re going to put you and Michelle through.”
By that time Xander had the door open and a uniformed British officer was coming through the door. Xander stepped back forcing Michelle and I back, we took the two seats just in front of the couch and Xander took his seat opposite Buffy. The officer looked a little perplexed by us, but then he spoke up, “I’m here to clear you through customs, if you’ll get your passports and any visas out?”
Buffy pulled her brief case out from beside her and got out a stack of passports and other papers, she handed one set to Harmony and two to Xander who passed Michelle’s and mine back to us. Faith and Xander got passports out of their pockets and Buffy had hers from the brief case, I guess they didn’t need any visas because they were just visiting for a couple of days.
Buffy told the officer, “The girls,” she pointed to Michelle and I, “are here for a summer student internship program, Harmony,” she indicated Harmony, “is here for a job, the rest of us are just visiting for a couple of days.”
He nodded understanding, Charlie and Jack were now standing behind him, he turned his head to them, “You’ll be flying on the Heathrow as soon as they’ve deplaned?”
They both nodded and Jack added, “That’s the plan.”
“Okay, I don’t need to check you in; it’ll cause less confusion if you just go through customs there.”
They nodded, Jack went back to the cockpit while Charlie slipped past, “I’ll just get their luggage brought up,” and he headed for the back of the plane.
By the time the officer had gotten done checking our passports and visas, it seemed very cursory to me - he just glanced at them and confirmed the picture matched and then he stamped them; Charlie had our luggage on the couches. The officer went back and attached a little tag to each of the bags and then left the plane. Buffy got up, “Alexis, would you help Charlie get the luggage out?”
I nodded, “Sure.”
Everybody else got up and headed out of the plane, I went back to help Charlie. There were the three big bags, Michelle’s, Harmony’s, and mine; and Buffy’s small bag and one other large bag that I guessed must be Faith’s and Xander’s. I grabbed Michelle and my bags and pushed one and dragged the other to the door and then climbed down the ladder.
I turned around and lifted Michelle’s bag out when another uniformed man, in a different kind of uniform I noticed, stepped up and started to take the bag, “Let me get that for you, miss.”
I remembered what happened to Charlie when we were loading so I kept hold of it, “No thanks, I’ve got it.”
He wouldn’t let go so we awkwardly set it on the ground together. He quickly stood up and reached in and grabbed the next bag, mine, and then staggered a little when he took the weight, with me standing closest to the door he was at a somewhat an awkward angle so I reached over and helped support the bag, he gave me a startled look when I took most of the weight, I just grinned at him. Charlie got the rest of the bags up to the door and we got them unloaded working together.
Everybody came up and got their bags and we followed two uniformed guys over to a large helicopter, as we got up to it men in dungarees took our bags and loaded them into it. The young officer that had been helping me trailed along behind us. When all the bags were loaded the oldest man turned to us, “I’m Wing Commander Davies, welcome to Britain and RAF Wyton; this is Flight Lieutenant Smythe, he’ll be one of your pilots, and this is Flying Officer Wales, he’ll be accompanying you.”
Buffy stepped forward, “I’m Buffy Summers, this is Xander Harris, Faith Lehane, Harmony Kendall, Michelle Wellington, and Alexis Castle.”
A flurry of nods and ‘Hellos’ passed among us as Buffy finished the introductions. Behind us I heard jet engines winding up and I looked over my shoulder to see our plane taxing away from us, once the noise quieted down Lieutenant Smythe spoke up, “We’re not real used civilians on our choppers, hope you don’t mind the rough accommodations.”
“Oh, I’m sure we’ll all survive.”
“Okay, let’s get loaded up; it’s only about a half hour flight.” He led us over to the big sliding door in the side of the helicopter where our luggage had disappeared. After Buffy, Xander, Faith, and Harmony had all gotten in I helped Michelle climb in and started to follow her. I felt a hand on my elbow and looked around to find Flying Officer Wales helping me up, I didn’t need it but he was being a gentleman and so I smiled and let him. Once I was in I could see everyone was seated in canvas seats along the far wall, Buffy farthest forward followed by Xander, Faith, Harmony, and Michelle. I took the seat next to Michelle and Wales sat next to me,
One of the enlisted crewmen was up by Buffy showing her something, I felt a tap on my arm and Wales was leaning toward me, when he had my attention he got his seat belt around himself, “Buckle up.”
I tapped Michelle and pointed to him and got my seat belt around me and she followed suit, the seat belts were large and coarser than normal seat belts, much heavier duty. When I had it latched I looked back at him, “We’ll dispense with the shoulder harness for this flight, but once they start up we’ll have to put on the earphones.”
He pointed above and behind me and I could see a set of big ‘Mickey Mouse’ ears. I turned back to him and nodded, I saw the name tag on his uniform said “William Wales” and there was something about him that was vaguely familiar but I couldn’t place it, “Once we have them on we’ll have microphones so we can talk but everyone’s on a common circuit so it can be confusing if you’re not used to it. Just try not to say anything until you’re sure no one else is talking. The pilot and crew have a separate circuit so you won’t be disturbing them.”
I glanced over to Michelle and she nodded understanding, then I turned back, “Thanks, Bill… or William.”
“William’s fine, Alexis?”
I nodded and added, “And my girlfriend, Michelle. Are you the one we’re picking up for the briefing?” He seemed young and somewhat junior from what I had been expecting.
“Yes, my father told me it was time to learn the ‘facts of life’, I don’t think he meant that in the traditional way, if he did he’s a wee bit late.”
Harmony spoke up then, “I just love your accent, it reminds me so much of Spike.”
He was somewhat taken aback but recovered quickly, “Well, thank you. I like your accent too.”
“Oh, I don’t have an accent, I just speak regular English.”
I saw the shocked expression on William’s face and then turned to see Michelle slap Harmony on her knee, “Harmony!”
I was about to add my two cents worth when I saw the gleam in her eye as she batted Michelle’s hand away, “Watch it witch!” she grinned at William, “Just pulling your chain.”
I decide to ignore her and turned my attention back to William, “The facts of life?”
“Yes, he wouldn’t say anything else; he just said to keep an open mind. Would you know what he was talking about?”
I started to answer when the door opposite us slammed shut and the whine of a jet engine starting up filled the air, “Later!” I half yelled.
William was reaching over my head and got hold of the ears above Michelle and handed them to her; then he reached above me and got mine unhooked and handed them to me. The crewman I had noticed earlier was handing Harmony her set. I slipped them on and the increasing noise of the engines was muted, William tapped my arm, when I looked at him he handed me a long cord that came from behind me and then swung the mike that came off the earphones over until it was in front of my mouth. Then I heard his voice in my ear, “Press the button to talk, but everybody will hear you.”
I pushed down on the button, “Like this?” I could hear my voice in my ears and he nodded, I turned to Michelle, the crewman was just handing her the mike button for her headset, she pushed it down and I heard her voice in my ears, “This is so cool! Fly in a private jet to England and now ride in a helicopter - all in one day! I think I’m going to like being a Witch!”
Buffy’s voice came over loud and clear, “Let’s hold the chatter down, open circuit people!”
Michelle’s startled “Oop…” suddenly cut off as she released her mike button. I turned quickly and William was giving us a curious grin, I smiled sweetly at him but didn’t say anything. There was a little bounce and the helicopter started moving forward and then smoothly took off. I felt Michelle’s hand on my thigh and put mine on top of it and squeezed it, I turned toward her and we leaned together, but the mikes kept me from giving her a quick kiss so instead we just touched our foreheads together for a few moments, “How’re you doing?
“Fine, a little nervous, but okay.
” She answered and twisted her hand so we were holding hands and then squeezed mine. She looked past my head and out the window that was behind William, “Wonder what city that is?
I turned back to William but kept Michelle’s hand in mine, I pointed out the window to the lights rapidly passing below us. He squirmed around in his seat until he could see what we were looking at and I heard his voice in my ears, “Huntingdon.”
I looked at him and shrugged, it didn’t mean anything to me, he smiled and turned back and pointed out the window on the other side of the helicopter. I looked out and could see a bright glow on the horizon; his voice came again, “London.”
I smiled at him and tried the button, “Thanks, not real up on English geography but I do recognize that.”
“I doubt I could do much better in the States.”
Everybody seemed to be staying quiet so I asked, “How long will it take us to get to…” I realized I didn’t really know where we were going.
Buffy’s voice filled in, “Portway, Wantage”
“About half an hour, about 100 kilometers.”
For the most part the remainder of the flight was quiet, occasionally William would point out some set of lights and offer a name, but since I had no frame of reference it really didn’t make much sense. We stayed relatively low, a few thousand feet I would guess, and the ground was dark although there were numerous lights from villages and small cities.
We started to descend and when we got lower I could see a cluster of buildings through the window in the door opposite our seats, then we set down in a big lawn alongside a large three story building, an old English country manor house. The noise of the engines and the roar of the rotor blades faded away, William tapped my shoulder and I turned to see had taken off the earphones and put his uniform hat back on. He tapped his ear and pointed at me, and I reached up and took off my earphones, he took them from me as I turned to Michelle, hers were already off and hanging on the wall behind her. She leaned across me a little and half whispered to William, “Slayers can be a little slow on the up take at times.”
A puzzled expression came across his face, “Slayers?”
Michelle grinned, “You’ll find out.”
The crewman opened the door and William led us out of the helicopter, he and the crewman stood outside the door and tried to help us down, but only Michelle and Harmony took their aid, the rest of us just jumped. There were three teenage girls waiting for us, one stepped up to Buffy, “Ms Sum… Buffy, I’m Kathy, we’ll take care of your luggage; they’re waiting for you.”
“Thanks,” Buffy said and lead us toward a small group of people up by the building, about 100 yards away.
We were about half way there when the three girls came trotting by us, Kathy had Buffy’s small bag and the other two each had two large bags, they weren’t bothering to use the wheels and drag them they just held them at their sides. I looked to the side and William had come to a stop and was just staring at the girls. I stepped back beside him and took his elbow and urged him on, “You’re dad said to keep an open mind.”
He looked at me, startled and then a bemused expression came over his features, “Yes, he did, didn’t he.”
I urged us on so we reached the group waiting for us only a little behind the rest of our group. I recognized most of the people in the group, a middle aged gentleman that I knew was Giles, the red headed witch Willow, and Buffy’s sister Dawn, there was one other woman, early thirties I would guess, that I didn’t know. Buffy hugged her sister for half a minute, then Giles for even longer, then she turned to Willow and approached her hesitantly but Willow reached out and pulled her into a tight hug which she quickly relaxed into. There were other greetings going on between others that knew each other, Harmony, Michelle, William and I held back until the old friends had finished.
Finally Buffy and Willow separated although I saw Buffy kept Willow’s hand in hers despite some tugs from Willow. “Giles, Willow, Dawn, I’m sure you remember Harmony. She’s here to be an instructor and to provide some specialized expertise.”
Willow looked at her warily and Giles was skeptical, “Uh, well, I’m sure we can find something…” he said.
“Besides her specialized knowledge Harmony holds a Bachelor’s in History from Columbia and a Master’s in Education from CUNY which she just completed, including all of her student teaching.” Buffy added.
Now all three of them looked shocked, the other woman looked happily surprised and held out her hand, “Great, I can always use a well trained teacher. I’m Heather Robson, head mistress at this… institution.”
Harmony took her hand, “Nice to meet you.”
Now the woman was shocked, “You’re a vampire!”
Harmony just nodded but I could feel William jerk, I was still holding his elbow, so I whispered to him “She’s okay, hasn’t killed anyone since she was turned eight or nine years ago.”
I looked at him and he was looking at me in bafflement but the introductions were continuing, Giles stepped up and shook Harmony’s hand, “I’m sure you’ll be a great addition.”
Dawn gave her a quick hug, “We can always use someone besides Slayers around here, the rest of us are sort of outnumbered.”
Willow’s greeting was a little cold but she did shake hands with her, “Harmony, nice to see you again.”
Harmony looked steadily at Willow, “Good to see you, Willow.”
Buffy turned to us, “And this is Michelle and Alexis, who you’ve all heard so much about.”
We said hi to everyone and I waved but I kept my hand around William’s elbow, he still felt a little unsteady.
Finally Buffy turned to William and said, “And this is Flying Officer Wales, who is here for a briefing?”
Both Giles and Ms Robson suddenly became very stiff, then both bowed very deeply while giving the rest of us angry glances, Giles voice started shaky but then got angry as he went on, “Your Highness, I’m so sorry, If I had realized I wouldn’t have let this…”
“Mr. Giles, Ms Robson, please rise” I felt William give a little bow to them, “there is no need to apologize. Let’s just keep this informal, I’m Flying Officer Wales, it’s a pleasure to meet you.”
As he stepped forward and offered his hand to Giles I finally let go of his elbow, “Jesus, Alexis
” I thought to myself, “observant much?” Don’t even recognize Prince William when you’re sitting next to him.
” I could only console myself that no one else had recognized him, and it wasn’t like I was expecting to meet royalty.
Michelle’s thought came to me, “Your Highness?
I shot back, “Prince William! Second in line to the British throne.
“Oops, Father’s going to kill me for not recognizing him immediately.
“We don’t have to tell him.
Giles straightened up and after a moment’s hesitation took the offered hand, Ms Robson quickly followed his example. Giles turned to Dawn and Willow, “Your high… Officer Wales, may I present Dawn Summers and Willow Rosenberg.”
Both Dawn and Willow stepped up and shook hands with William, I just couldn’t think of him as anything else. Then Giles continued, “And I assume you were introduced to your traveling companions?”
“Only very briefly, but what I would like to know is what is this all about?”
“Your father didn’t tell you?”
“He only said it was time for me to learn the ‘facts of life’, I know he wasn’t using that phrase in the traditional sense but I have no idea what he meant. But I keep hearing the strangest terms, ‘Witches’, ‘Slayers’, and ‘Vampires’? I would suspect this is some MI6 program but most of you appear American,” he looked around at us, “and most are much too young to be involved in something like that.”
“Ah, yes,” said Giles, “Well, this will be a somewhat involved story. Why don’t we go inside and we’ll have some refreshments and then a few of us will teach you the ‘facts of life’ as your father so quaintly put it.”